Re: more dingbats in plain text

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Sat Apr 18 2009 - 10:28:14 CDT

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    Peter Constable <petercon at microsoft dot com> replied to Christopher

    >>> The Wingdings and Webdings family of fonts, distributed with every
    >>> copy of Windows for over a decade, absolutely qualify as
    >>> "compatibility character sets" according to the guidelines being
    >>> applied for the emoji.
    >> At least Microsoft has always mapped the glyphs in Wingdings and
    >> Webdings to the PUA.
    > Not 100% true. These fonts are encoded in a encoding called
    > "symbol" -- which means a font-specific encoding. The Symbol encoding
    > uses a 16-bit representation in the fonts, and typically fonts have
    > characters mapped from F020 to F0FF. It looks a lot like Unicode PUA,
    > though strictly speaking it is not.

    The duck test tends to support Chris. When I type :) into a Word 2003
    file (thus changing it to the smiley-face Wingding) and copy and paste
    it into BabelPad, a plain-text but very Unicode-aware editor, BabelPad
    tells me the character (with font information stripped) is U+F04A. This
    is within the Unicode PUA, even if Microsoft has a different
    interpretation of what is going on.

    The interchangeability isn't perfect, of course, because to interpret
    the PUA character you have to know that it's supposed to be a Wingding.
    That is no different from any other PUA usage, where you have to know
    the private agreement (ConScript, MUFI, one of William O's inventions,
    etc.) to interpret the character.

    At least there is uniformity about which PUA code point to use. In the
    case of emoji, the three vendors didn't get together, and chose
    different PUA code points for symbols that they later agreed were
    mappable to each other. If they had coordinated the PUA assignments,
    the stated interoperability problems might have been largely moot.

    Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14  ˆ

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